Two new state-of-the-art Air Ambulance helicopters are taking to the skies to help save lives across Harborough
This is part of a huge £30 million cash injection
Two new state-of-the-art Air Ambulance helicopters are taking to the skies to help save lives across Harborough as part of a huge £30 million cash injection.
The two cutting edge Leonardo AW109 GrandNew aircraft boast a cruising speed of 180mph and a service ceiling of 16,000ft as they are drafted in to the frontline to support the NHS across the East Midlands.
“The launch represents a substantial investment of more than £30 million by the charity over the next seven years,” said The Air Ambulance Service.
“It’s the culmination of an 18-month project to modernise and replace Derbyshire, Leicestershire & Rutland Air Ambulance and Warwickshire & Northamptonshire Air Ambulance.
“The charity is now calling on the communities the aircraft serve to show their support as the charity builds on the 42,000-plus missions it has attended since its launch in 2003.”
The new helicopters were launched from Sywell Aerodrome in Northamptonshire, home of aircraft provider and project partner Sloane Helicopters Limited.
The highly-trained crews then flew on to their respective homes at East Midlands Airport and Coventry Airport as they prepare to begin saving lives throughout the region.
Air Ambulance Service chief executive Andy Williamson said: “These wonderful new aircraft are the culmination of a lot of hard work by our supporters, the charity and our stakeholders.
“I am very proud to see it come to fruition and of all those involved in making the dream a reality.
“The difference the charity’s two new helicopters will make to the tens of thousands of lives they will touch, directly or indirectly, over the next seven years is very significant and that’s what this charity is all about.”
Andy added: “For us now, though, the hard work really begins.
“Our crews are available, 24/7, 365 days a year.
“But we need the support of the public more than ever before so we can continue to deliver our lifesaving, frontline critical care.”
The new AW109 model has been chosen for its proven performance as the world’s fastest commercial twin-engine helicopter.
It also has the ability to start up and shut down engines in a much shorter time than many of its competitors.
“These seconds and minutes saved can often be vital in terms of the delivering lifesaving critical care medicine to patients,” said the Air Ambulance Service.
“Enhanced technology and navigation and an increase in weight-carrying capability were all key factors in selecting the AW109.
“Being able to carry four crew and a patient ensures the charity will also be able to support the NHS by offering training opportunities for Pre Hospital Emergency Medicine (PHEM) doctors.”
Air Ambulance Service director of operations Richard Clayton, who led the project team, said: “What a monumental day for the charity.
“It’s been a complex project over the past 18 months, especially given the global pandemic, but now the exciting work really starts.
“We’re very proud to launch our new aircraft and look forward to continuing to work closely with our NHS partners, East Midlands Ambulance Service and West Midlands Ambulance Service, to provide critical care to patients wherever it is needed the most.”
He stressed: “Our fantastic, state-of-the-art new aircraft enable us to get to our patients as quickly and as safely as possible - and often time saved can mean a life saved.
“They also enable us to continue to support vital training for the next generation of NHS PHEM doctors.
“I would like to thank everyone who have helped deliver this complex project in record time.
“I would especially like to single out Sloane Helicopters for their commitment despite the significant challenges encountered with the project due to the global pandemic over the past 12 months.”
To find out more about the lifesaving work of the Air Ambulance Service you can call 0300 3045 999 or visit www.theairambulanceservice.org.uk